by GIANFRANCO PANIZO
After an intense pair of second-legs in the semifinals of the UEFA Cup, Shakhtar Donetsk and Werder Bremen booked their places in the tournament's final with a pair of thrilling victories on Thursday.
Shakhtar Donetsk squeaked out a 2-1 victory over compatriots Dynamo Kiev, advancing 3-2 on aggregate. Rodrigues Jadson's 17th minute opener was negated by Ismael Bangoura's second-half strike, a goal that gave Dynamo a glimmer of hope. But those hopes were crushed when Junior Ilsinho struck two minutes from time to seal Shakhtar's place in the final.
Despite the series ending 3-3 on aggregate, Werder Bremen also advanced to the final by knocking in three away goals against fellow German club Hamburg. Diego, Claudio Pizarro and Frank Bauman's strikes were enough to overcome an Ivica Olic brace. The bad news for Werder however is that Diego will miss the final after picking up a yellow card in the 3-2 win.
Shakhtar Donetsk and Werder Bremen will square off on May 20 in Istanbul. The winner will become a first-time UEFA Cup champion.
You can see all off Thursday's goals, including Werder Bremen's third goal, which was aided by a plastic cup on the field, after the jump.
Werder Bremen Highlights:
Shakhtar Donetsk Highlights
What did you think of the UEFA Cup semifinals? Happy to see Shakhtar Donetsk advance? Is Werder Bremen in trouble without Diego? Who are you rooting for in the final?
Share your thoughts below.